Forget Horsepower, meet ancient Cow Power.
According to a recent study, the massive stones used in the construction of the iconic English monument, Stonehenge, were transported over 140 miles using cow power.
Archaeologists have found evidence that suggests that the ancient builders made use of cattle to transport stones weighing several tons from as far away as Wales to Wiltshire, where the ancient structure stands today.
The new study could explain how the stones weighing several tons were transported across rivers, hills, making their way from Wales to Wiltshire.
Previous studies suggested that the stones, specifically the bluestones, were not transported by humans, but rather by the movement of glaciers.
Scientists have now found evidence that suggests cattle was sued to pull and carry the massive stones.
Archaeologists at University College London have found that the bones in the feet of Neolithic cattle showed clear wear marks, indicative of exploitation, suggesting that thousands of years ago, the animals were submitted into carrying massive weight.
“Traction was not an ‘all-or-nothing’ situation; we need instead to reconsider it as a more complex process, with animals used as engines in multiple ways,” Lead author D.r Jane Gaastra writes in the study.
“Our repeated identification of the exploitation of cattle for pulling heavy loads calls into question the current scope of the analysis and interpretation of the use of animals in prehistoric Europe.”
If scientists were to find evidence of cattle being used for traction elsewhere, it would completely change the way we think about the use of animals during the Neolithic.
“A firm understanding of the nature of early traction evidence in prehistoric Europe has significant implications for our knowledge of both management practices and the nature of labor and movement in prehistoric societies,” explains Dr. Gaastra.